We didn't have a toast for the new year, partially because we waited out the time until midnight by watching more Wotakoi, and so we were too distracted to think of it. But that's okay, because we just had enough time to get to the introduction of Naoya, who, as it turns out, is played by our beloved favorite voice actor! ...We actually kind of suspected as much, because Athena has gotten into the habit of checking a few Twitter feeds regularly, and his is one of them. He was recently promoting the release of volume four of the Wotakoi Blu-rays, so we figured either he was a regular or a guest character...obviously we were hoping for the former. And that is part of why we were watching Wotakoi to begin with, but the other part is that when we set up our fancy TV and it gave us suggestions of fancy things to watch, for some reason Wotakoi was one of the first ones.
Those two things together had us going, "Well, I guess it's about time we checked it out." And boy are we glad we did! This is exactly the kind of love story I like, where the characters obviously care about each other very much, and there's not a whole lot of drama over the relationship (most of the drama is elsewhere), and most importantly, the conflict isn't driven by miscommunication. But most
most importantly, almost every time Hirotaka does something it has me going, "Awww, he loves her so much!" So he seems like one of the best guys ever...but then Naoya comes along and he's horrible to him, and it's like, "What is wrong
with you!?" because Naoya is also one of the sweetest guys ever. But if Finding Neverland is to be believed, that's just how it goes with brothers.
Anyway. Athena reminds me that we were going to post two reviews this week! And speaking of our beloved favorite voice actor, today we have a review of Kiss Me at the Stroke of Midnight volume eight! Spoilers ahead!
This book was another one that we took to the Disneyland Office, which made for some fun times reacting to stuff...but not as fun as you'd think, because you would be surprised how little people care about what's going on outside of their immediate group. Which is to say that we had some very conspicuous reactions to certain story points, and nobody seemed to even look over. It was disappointing, frankly. But anyway, let's talk about the book!
It started right away with a word we didn't know! This is more of a problem at Disneyland Office than Home Office, because at Home Office, we can just pull up the internet and get at least a vague idea of what the word means, whereas at Disneyland Office, all we can do is make our best guess. And this word was all by itself, so our best guess was a lot less educated than if it had had a whole sentence around it. Hinana's adoptive mother was shocked--shocked!!--about her dating a celebrity, and the only way to accurately describe her shock, apparently, was to use slang from the last millennium. So when we got home to edit it, we ended up Googling lists of '80s and '90s slang, feeling nostalgic for certain volumes of Noragami. In fact, Hinana's mother's word meant the same thing (total shock and surprise) as the word on Yato's old shirt, and was from the same time period, but was a different word.
Anyway, Hinana's mother is so nice. Hinana's always bending over backwards to please her parents, so you kind of get this idea that they're these horrible slave drivers, but at least the mother is not that way at all. She didn't even forbid Hinana from ever seeing Kaede again; she just said she was against it. But then she had to go and get all paranoid about anybody with a camera, and that created a rift between her and Suzu, and Hinana was all, "It's all my fault!" and we're like, okay, that's not really true, but I can still see your concern.
Fortunately, Shu comes to the rescue again...she's almost like a deus ex machina, she seems to always show up right when Hinana is stuck. Anyway, she's having a party, and oh my goodness, I felt like I was watching an old TV show. A movie star, hosting a party, at her own house, with a formal dress code, and she's catering it herself. What. She's just like one of those housewives from the old sitcoms, so domestic. Hinana agreed to go, despite knowing that Shu was the only person she would know there, in the hopes that Shu could help her figure out what to do about this whole paparazzi situation. But Shu had other ideas, and apparently it was an elaborate scheme to get Hinana and Kaede together. I don't know why she feels the need to do that, since they weren't really in a "we need to be apart for a while" situation. Maybe she was like, "Well, it will be nice to see Hinana again, and I don't know if Kaede can make it or not, so it's a win-win for me."
But the point is, Kaede showed up, and he whisked Hinana away to a romantic spot where they danced. Awwwww. I think I sort of understand how Hinana felt in this situation, where she was like, "Oh my goodness, this place is so beautiful, wouldn't it be romantic to dance here?" and Kaede's all, "Okay, let's do it." I mean, seriously, why not? He's so cute. "Let's live the fairy tale!" He's been a movie star for a while now, so I guess he's used to the idea of just doing
things like that. I think we ordinary people get it into our heads that we ordinary people Do Not just do
these things. But really, the only difference is whether or not you just do it anyway. And the fact is, you probably don't have to be a movie star to go to wherever they were, so any ordinary couple could have done the same thing and had just as romantic an evening. I think we need to get it out of our heads that things in stories don't ever happen in real life.
But then! Hinana gets a text from her mother that reminds her that her relationship with Kaede is Ruining Everything!, so she tearfully suggests that they break up! Oh noes!!!!!
So then there's a lot of angst as Hinana wonders what Kaede will do, and Kaede tries to tell himself to do what's best for Hinana. I have a hard time imagining what it would be like to have people stalking me and taking pictures. I feel like if I'm out in public, like at Disneyland or even at the grocery store, I would be like, "Well, that's life as a celebrity." But if it was at my house, I might be like, "Okay, people know where I live now... I hope nobody breaks in and/or tries to kill me..." And then Kaede goes to her school for a special thank-you event about the movie they shot there.
And by the way, not once did they ever give us the reading for his costar's surname. We were so annoyed. Thankfully, she shows up in the Kyo no Kira-kun bonus chapter at the end of this volume, so we were able to discover that her name is Rei, but we even went to the Wikipedia article on Kyo no Kira-kun and it refused to give us a reading. Why? WHY!? Eventually Google saved the day, but I am thoroughly annoyed that it was even an issue. I guess that's what we get for not being up-to-date on every one of Rin Mikimoto's series.
The point is, Kaede tracks down Hinana and tells her he can't stop loving her. Awwwwwwww. Also, we have to point out Run-chan's scheme to use Hinana to get Kaede's attention. We were like, "Yup. That's how we fans do things." Whatever we can to get them to notice us. I'm a little sad for her that Hinana ran away and we didn't get to see how her plot worked. Of course, it wouldn't have worked the way she thought anyway, because oh boy, does he remember her from the shoe thing, but that's exactly why I wanted to see how it went down.
And finally, Akira comes clean. I'm glad he didn't drag it out forever. And to make it up to Hinana, he is determined to defeat the evil Mitsuki! And Hinana decides to work with him, and they come up with the most ridiculous plot to try to blackmail him. We found out what the plan was, and we were like, "Oh, child." There was no way it was ever going to work. Akira was like, "Were we too naive?" and we were like, "Boy, were you ever." Obviously Mitsuki knows how to behave himself in public to avoid a scandal, for goodness sake. Fortunately, Hinana had the integrity to tell her boyfriend what was going on. Very prudent, considering the point was to potentially make a photo public that had his girlfriend with another guy apparently on a date. But that was also bound to never happen, so she probably didn't need to warn him about that, and either way, it's nice that she told him. And then he came to save the day, and it was awesome, as usual. The best was when Kaede and Akira were at the show, and Hinana was reacting to the show, and the guys were both like, "She's so cute."
And then! Akira did the sweetest thing. He asked Kaede to help Hinana break free of her angst. He is such a good friend. I hope he finds happiness someday...
Next we had a short story for Kyo no Kira-kun. It wasn't the first time we translated a short story from another series that hadn't been translated yet, but we haven't done it in ages. It was kind of super cliched, actually. The main couple was going around handing envelopes to their best friends, and the friends were like, "What is it, a letter?" and we were like, "Oh please." Maybe it's just because there's even less letter writing in America than in Japan, but I don't think we'll end up being the only ones who were utterly unsurprised to find out what was in those envelopes. In fact, the reveal was the time we had our biggest reaction that we were hoping would make people stare for a little bit, but you must understand that in most cases, our biggest reactions are that big because they're so exaggerated. In other words, the less surprised we are, the bigger the reaction. So we turned the page and it said, "We're getting married!" and we were like, "WHAAAAAAT." Right there at Award Wieners in California Adventure. Nobody cared, though.
Then Ninon said they had another surprise for the deceased parrot, and we were like, "You're pregnant." And sure enough. We didn't even know anything about this series, and it had no surprises. But I guess that makes sense, because it's after the happy ending, and the next steps from the happy ending are usually pretty standard. It was a cute story, regardless, and I would be interested in reading the series that it came from.
Finally, there's a cute short story about Kaede obsessing over his girlfriend, presented by his dog Scarlet. I don't really have anything else to say about that one. In the afterwords, Mikimoto-sensei keeps talking about how she wishes she could have Kaede and Hinana hang all over each other and stuff, and it kind of amuses me that she seems more interested in that than the story. And this is shoujo manga we're talking about, so really, I think she has her priorities in exactly the right place. I do wonder what she means about making Kaede explode in the next volume...
And! I'm excited to find out more about Hinana's past! Mysteries revealed (maybe)! Next time, on Kiss Me at the Stroke of Midnight!
And we wrote that review before we found out that there was going to be a CD drama with the next one, so now we're even more excited for it! ...I mean, we already have the CD drama, but we've had so many other things to do. But more importantly, when volume nine came out, Yuki Kaji specifically waited until midnight to tweet at everyone to remind them of the release! Aww, he cared enough about it to be time-specific! ...We did not get the issue of Dessert that came with his comments about it, though. Oh well.
Anyway! There are no new releases today! Well, that makes sense, because it's New Year's Day. I'm pretty sure there's some logistical or bookkeeping reason that having new releases on this very day would be inconvenient (but it didn't stop Netflix from releasing season three of A Series of Unfortunate Events...which we did not binge watch today). But! tune in on Thursday for our review of Hatsu*Haru 4!
Today I'm thankful for another brand new year, getting to start it off with a review of a great series, getting to watch more of another great series, not being too destroyed by our attempts to exercise today, and being ready to get back to work tomorrow (although it would be nice if we didn't have to).